Stories for December 2021


Thursday, December 30

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Looking back at the top KU sports stories of 2021

It was another wild and unpredictable year in KU sports in 2021, with upsets, debuts, memorable moments and incredible individual performances dominating the landscape. As we prepare to turn the page to 2022 and begin to look ahead to all that’s in store for the coming year, here’s a quick look back at the top 10 sports stories in Kansas athletics from the past 12 months. By Matt Tait

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Late addition be damned, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self still expecting packed Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday vs. George Mason

Facing an opportunity to watch Kansas basketball in person for ticket prices as cheap as they’ve been since his arrival in 2003, Kansas coach Bill Self expressed confidence in KU fans’ ability to show up for Saturday’s newly scheduled game against George Mason at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait

Wednesday, December 29

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Notebook: KU bench getting more work but still not producing consistently

With so many games canceled or postponed in the last 10 days and the COVID-19 pandemic ripping through college basketball programs from coast to coast, Self said he and his staff have tweaked part of their practice routine in recent weeks. By Matt Tait

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No. 6 Kansas rocks Nevada, 88-61, at Allen Fieldhouse

Back in action for the first time in 11 days, the sixth-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team rolled to an 88-61 victory over visiting Nevada Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas basketball to face George Mason on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse

KU officials announced Wednesday afternoon that the Jayhawks will play Kim English’s George Mason squad at 4 p.m. Saturday in place of the postponed Big 12 opener against TCU. By Matt Tait

Tuesday, December 28

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KU women's basketball clash with Northwestern State canceled because of COVID-19 issues in KU program

The Kansas women’s basketball program’s nonconference finale against Northwestern State was canceled a little more than an hour before tipoff on Tuesday night because of COVID-19 issues within the KU program.

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6th-ranked Jayhawks take note of Nevada's size ahead of Wednesday's matchup

Although their time to prepare was cut short because of the last-minute nature of scheduling the game, the Kansas Jayhawks are well aware of the size of the challenge Nevada will present on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self says Jayhawks 'working on' scheduling a new game for Saturday

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Tuesday that odds were good that the sixth-ranked Jayhawks would be playing on Saturday after all. By Matt Tait

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Kansas football eyeing Miami (Ohio) defensive end in transfer portal

With their top pass rusher out of eligibility and another entering the transfer portal, the Kansas football program hit the road in search of at least one impact defensive end this offseason. They may have found one in Miami (Ohio) sophomore Lonnie Phelps. By Matt Tait

Monday, December 27

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Kansas basketball adds home game with Nevada; Big 12 home opener vs. TCU postponed

KU offcials announced Monday afternoon that the Kansas men’s basketball program will welcome Nevada to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Big 12 Now and ESPN+. The game will be played in place of the KU-Harvard game, which was canceled because of injuries and COVID-19 issues at Harvard. Later Monday, KU announced the postponement of its Big 12 home opener against TCU because of COVID-19 issues within the TCU program. By Matt Tait

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KU women's hoops ready to close out nonconference slate vs. Northwestern State

After racing out to a 9-1 start — with the only loss coming to No. 7 Tennessee on a neutral floor — the Kansas women’s basketball team is ready for its final tune up before the start of Big 12 Conference play.

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Jayhawks jump to No. 6 in latest AP hoops poll

A combination of cancellations and the holidays made for a quiet week in college basketball. The latest Associated Press poll reflected the light week.

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Former Jayhawk Gethro Muscadin leaves New Mexico

Former Kansas forward Gethro Muscadin is on the move once again, according to reports out of New Mexico. By Matt Tait

Sunday, December 26

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Wednesday's Kansas-Harvard men's basketball game canceled because of injuries, COVID issues within Harvard program

Jayhawks looking for a replacement for Dec. 29 home slot

The Kansas men’s basketball program announced Sunday night that its upcoming home game with Ivy League school Harvard has been canceled. By Matt Tait

Saturday, December 25

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Kansas Athletics sets school record for graduation rate

Kansas Athletics recently announced that student-athletes at KU set a school record with a combined 90% Graduation Success Rate for student-athletes who began their full-time collegiate careers in the fall of 2014.

Friday, December 24

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Jayhawks unsure whether they'll schedule another game to replace Colorado on 2021-22 schedule

For the second consecutive season, the Kansas men’s basketball team’s regular season schedule figures to come up short of its originally scheduled total of games. By Matt Tait

Thursday, December 23

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KU veterans Agbaji, Braun leading Jayhawks while raising NBA draft stock

When asked in Boulder, Colorado, to identify KU’s most valuable player through 10 games, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self needed no time to come up with his answer. By Matt Tait

Wednesday, December 22

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KU's Jenny Mosser named Big 12 volleyball Scholar Athlete of the Year

Kansas volleyball senior Jenny Mosser was named the Big 12 volleyball scholar-athlete of the year for 2021 earlier this week.

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KU-CU cancellation doesn't spoil special trip for families honoring late family members

When Tuesday's Kansas basketball game at Colorado was canceled, dozens of KU fans who made the trip to Boulder, Colorado, were forced to find something else to do with their time. But for two KU families who got together to honor late family members, the game was always secondary to the time together anyway. By Matt Tait

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Colorado basketball coach Tad Boyle likes Jayhawks, desires more support for Buffs

There has been a real push at Colorado University in recent years to create a true home-court advantage at the CU Events Center for men’s basketball games. That has been the case for all of Colorado’s home games, but it has garnered extra emphasis whenever Kansas has come to town. By Matt Tait

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self in favor of Big 12 eliminating forfeits from COVID-19 protocols

Given the current landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said Tuesday night in Boulder, Colorado, that the Big 12 Conference’s policy for what to do if a team cannot field enough players to play a game was in need of a change. By Wednesday morning, reports existed that changes had taken place. By Matt Tait

Tuesday, December 21

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KU women pick up road win at Wichita State to move to 9-1

Four Jayhawks scored in double figures and the Kansas women recorded a season-high nine blocked shots during a 68-55 road win over Wichita State on Tuesday night at Charles Koch Arena.

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COVID-19 issue within Colorado hoops program leads to cancellation of KU-CU game in Boulder

Boulder, Colo. — Tuesday's Kansas men’s basketball game against Colorado at CU Events Center was canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Colorado program. By Matt Tait

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Report has Crawford headed to Wisconsin; Kansas volleyball finishes season ranked in Top 20

Former Kansas volleyball player Caroline Crawford is headed to Wisconsin, according to a recent report from the Madison State Journal. By Matt Tait

Monday, December 20

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Game day breakdown: No. 7 Kansas basketball at Colorado

A look at some of the keys for seventh-ranked Kansas in Tuesday's road contest at Colorado. By Matt Tait

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IARP ruling in NC State case includes probation but no postseason ban

The North Carolina State men’s basketball program has been placed on probation for one year for NCAA recruiting violations following an independent investigation.

Saturday, December 18

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Notebook: Jayhawks dealing with non-COVID illnesses; Jossell returns

Kansas freshman K.J. Adams missed a game for the first time this season on Saturday, when he didn’t suit up for the Jayhawks’ home game versus Stephen F. Austin due to an illness.

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'He's a gamer': Remy Martin nails clutch 3 to help KU survive vs. Stephen F. Austin

Self looking for more from veteran guard

A late-game Remy Martin 3-pointer helped the No. 8-ranked Kansas basketball team survive a scare Saturday night against Stephen F. Austin at Allen Fieldhouse.

Friday, December 17

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Sources: Kansas volleyball sophomore Caroline Crawford planning to leave KU

A source close to the Kansas volleyball program confirmed to the Journal-World on Friday night that reports of sophomore middle blocker Caroline Crawford’s plans to transfer were accurate. By Matt Tait

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Transfer portal a source of depth and experience for KU football

When head coach Lance Leipold and his staff took over the Kansas football program this past May, they knew recruiting for the 2022 class would be slow-going at first, given the timing of the transition and only a handful of months left before the early signing period arrived. It didn’t take long for them to adapt and embrace the possibilities that the NCAA’s transfer portal had to offer.

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Bill Self hopeful vaccinations and boosters will keep KU basketball from having COVID pause this season

As COVID-19 cases among players in the NFL, NBA, NHL and college basketball in recent days have games being postponed and rescheduled, Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self is knocking on wood while feeling “fortunate” that the Jayhawks haven’t yet encountered such issues.

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KU football to kick off 2022 season on a Friday

Whether it will become a new Kansas football tradition remains to be seen, but for the second straight season the Jayhawks will kick off their schedule with a Friday night home opener in 2022.

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Game day breakdown: No. 7 Kansas basketball vs. Stephen F. Austin

A look at some of the keys for seventh-ranked Kansas in Saturday's home clash with Stephen F. Austin at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait

Thursday, December 16

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Jayhawks still waiting for reserve guard Joe Yesufu to break out

Seven games into his Kansas career, sophomore guard Joe Yesufu found himself in the enviable position that so many former Jayhawks probably wished they could have been in during their time in Lawrence. By Matt Tait

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Kansas running back Amauri Pesek-Hickson enters transfer portal

Kansas running back Amauri Pesek-Hickson has entered the transfer portal and will play college football somewhere else during the 2022 season.

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'The whole package': Why KU football targeted prep QB Ethan Vasko out of Virginia

When the Kansas football staff determined the Jayhawks needed to add a high school quarterback to their 2022 recruiting class, the coaches already had Ethan Vasko in mind.

Wednesday, December 15

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Lance Leipold tried to keep Emmett Jones on KU football staff

Even though Texas Tech’s hiring of former Kansas football receivers coach Emmett Jones means KU will benefit from a $600,000 buyout, KU head coach Lance Leipold said the university did its best to keep Jones in Lawrence.

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Kansas volleyball freshman Caroline Bien becomes 10th Jayhawk to earn AVCA All-American recognition

One day after being named to the NCAA Tournament’s Pittsburgh Regional team for her play during the Kansas volleyball team’s run to the Sweet 16, KU freshman Caroline Bien landed an even bigger honor. By Matt Tait

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Lance Leipold explains why KU football only signed 6 players on Day 1 of early period

Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold was all of 10 seconds into his opening remarks during his early signing period press conference when he brought up the fact that the Jayhawks only signed six players on Wednesday.

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QBs Miles Kendrick and Conrad Hawley leaving KU football

The Kansas football program’s quarterback depth for 2022 took a hit when two reserves — Miles Kendrick and Conrad Hawley — decided to leave via the transfer portal.

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Players in KU football's 2022 recruiting class begin signing

Members of the Kansas football team’s 2022 recruiting class began making their commitments official on Wednesday morning, as the early signing period kicked off nationwide.

Tuesday, December 14

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Juco LB Mike Smith decommits from KU football

The size of the Kansas football program’s 2022 recruiting class shrank by one on the eve of the early signing period, when junior college linebacker Mike Smith announced he has decommitted from the Jayhawks.

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O is for Offense: How Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji has gotten off to a hot start and why many believe it will continue

Nine games into a senior season that almost never happened, Kansas senior Ochai Agbaji leads the nation in scoring at 22.4 points per game. Here's a look at where his hot start came from and why many believe it will continue. By Matt Tait

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Former UCF LB Eriq Gilyard announces commitment to KU football

Lance Leipold’s Kansas football staff continued to hit the transfer portal hard on Tuesday, as former UCF linebacker Eriq Gilyard announced his commitment to the program.

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Kansas basketball announces future home-and-home hoops series with Indiana

The Kansas men’s basketball program announced Tuesday a home-and-home series with the Indiana Hoosiers, scheduled to begin next season. By Matt Tait

Monday, December 13

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Virginia prep QB Ethan Vasko commits to KU football

Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold and his staff found their prep quarterback for the 2022 recruiting class when Ethan Vasko announced Monday evening his commitment to the Jayhawks.

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KU football finds more transfer portal help, lands commitments from Craig Young, Nolan Gorczyca

It’s been a busy few days for the Kansas football program in the transfer portal, as the Jayhawks on Monday added two more transfers to bolster the roster for head coach Lance Leipold’s second season.

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KU football signs new WRs coach Terrence Samuel to 3-year contract

Hired to replace Emmett Jones, the Kansas football team’s new receivers coach, Terrence Samuel, signed a three-year contract to join Lance Leipold’s staff.

Sunday, December 12

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self debuts tighter rotation in blowout win over Missouri

Perhaps lost in the euphoria that accompanied last Saturday’s near-40-point beatdown of rival Missouri was Kansas coach Bill Self’s first significant step toward paring down his roster. By Matt Tait

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Former North Dakota State recruit Mason Ellis flips, commits to KU football

The Kansas football program’s 2022 recruiting class now has its first in-state high school prospect.

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Former 4-star prospect and Nebraska RB Sevion Morrison to transfer to KU

A reserve running back at Nebraska a little more than a month ago, Sevion Morrison announced Sunday night he’ll soon be calling Kansas home.

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Strong 4th quarter gives KU women's basketball its 4th win in a row

With its best quarter coming just in time, in the fourth, the Kansas women’s basketball team turned a tight game into an 80-65 victory over Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Saturday, December 11

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Notebook: Jayhawks happy to take care of business vs. Mizzou in front of so many former Kansas players

Saturday’s 102-65 victory by eighth-ranked Kansas over bitter rival Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse was the culmination of a weeklong education in rivalries. By Matt Tait

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Border Blowout: Junior guard Christian Braun sparks KU's 102-65 win over Missouri

The return of the Border Showdown didn’t disappoint — at least not on the Kansas side of the rivalry — Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks dominated in their first official matchup with Missouri since 2012. By Matt Tait

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With 'so much to build on,' KU volleyball upbeat about program's future

Still feeling the sting of a season-ending loss at Pitt in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16, members of the Kansas volleyball team at least exited the postseason encouraged about the program’s future.

Friday, December 10

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Former Michigan State CB Kalon Gervin commits to KU football

A former starting cornerback at Michigan State, Kalon Gervin’s venture into the transfer portal has landed him at the University of Kansas.

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Lawrence High kicker Grant Glasgow plans to walk on with KU football

After booting the football for Lawrence High, Grant Glasgow’s new gridiron home will be just a few lengthy kickoffs north, at the University of Kansas.

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Game day breakdown: No. 8 Kansas basketball vs. Missouri

A look at some of the keys for eighth-ranked Kansas in today's border-rival clash with Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse. The matchup will be the first between the two programs since Feb. 25, 2012, and it ends a nine-year hiatus of what many believe is the greatest rivalry in all of college sports. By Matt Tait

Thursday, December 9

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Kenny Logan Jr. KU football's lone representative on AP All-Big 12 teams

Just one Kansas football player — Kenny Logan Jr. — made the Associated Press All-Big 12 team this year.

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Passage of time the biggest reason KU is set to renew its rivalry with Missouri on Saturday

With the first official basketball game against Missouri in more than 3,500 days now just hours away, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was asked on Thursday why the game is finally being played again. His answer was short and sweet. “Time’s passed," he said. By Matt Tait

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Missing Mizzou? How Kansas basketball fans coped with the absence of their border rivals during the past 9 years

The best way many Kansas fans have been able to describe what was missing with Missouri out of their lives for the past nine years was to compare the relationship between the two bitter rivals to that of siblings. By Matt Tait

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KU volleyball's NCAA Tournament run ends in Sweet 16 at No. 3 Pitt

A hot start proved to be brief and ultimately unsustainable Thursday for a Kansas volleyball team trying to upset the NCAA Tournament’s No. 3 overall seed, Pitt, on the road.

Wednesday, December 8

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Offensive breakthrough taking KU volleyball to new heights, and unexpected spot in Sweet 16

Even as he watched his Kansas volleyball team steadily improve before his eyes as the postseason drew near, head coach Ray Bechard thought the Jayhawks were only playing “OK” offensively. Then came a breakthrough performance at Creighton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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Trust in freshman setter Camryn Turner has paid off for Sweet 16-bound Kansas volleyball program

In late August, following the Kansas volleyball program’s season-opening loss to Loyola Marymount at Purdue, Kansas coach Ray Bechard ran into setter Camryn Turner and her parents outside of the team hotel and had a brief conversation that proved to be prophetic. By Matt Tait

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Freshman LB James Wright leaving KU football via transfer portal

After six months with the Kansas football program, freshman linebacker James Wright is moving on. Wright announced on Wednesday his decision to put his name in the transfer portal.

Tuesday, December 7

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Notebook: 8th-ranked Jayhawks finally able to turn attention to upcoming clash with Mizzou

Moments after scoring 20 points in a blowout win over UTEP at T-Mobile Center on Tuesday night, Kansas junior Christian Braun painted a crystal-clear picture of how quickly the Jayhawks had moved on from UTEP to Saturday’s looming showdown with Missouri. By Matt Tait

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'A hard guard': Agbaji, Braun punish UTEP with potent offensive production in 78-52 Kansas victory

No matter what goes right, what goes wrong or how any of it looks, the eighth-ranked Kansas basketball program seems to know it’s in good hands when Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun are on the floor. That was the case again on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Center, where Agbaji and Braun combined to score 43 points on 18 of 25 shooting and Kansas bludgeoned visiting UTEP 78-52. By Matt Tait

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Jayhawks not flying under the radar anymore, as they head to Sweet 16

It turns out there may be a catch to becoming the NCAA Tournament’s giant killer.

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Kansas guard Christian Braun named Big 12 Player of the Week

Kansas junior Christian Braun’s career-night last Friday in Elmont, N.Y., not only led the eighth-ranked Jayhawks to victory but also earned him the Big 12’s Player of the Week honor. By Matt Tait

Monday, December 6

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Game day breakdown: No. 8 Kansas basketball vs. UTEP in Kansas City, Mo.

A look at some of the keys for eighth-ranked Kansas in Tuesday's clash with UTEP at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo. By Matt Tait

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Reports: Emmett Jones leaving KU football; Lance Leipold hiring Syracuse's Terrence Samuel

The interim head coach for Kansas football this past spring and the Jayhawks’ receivers coach each of the past three seasons, Emmett Jones reportedly is leaving the program to return to Texas Tech.

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Former KU volleyball player Maggie Bowen sees familiar 'we've got it' approach from 2021 Jayhawks

It was only a few years ago that Maggie Bowen was in a Kansas volleyball uniform, helping the Jayhawks make their best NCAA Tournament run in program history. Now in her fifth season on head coach Ray Bechard’s staff as director of operations, Bowen is getting a different perspective on another postseason hot streak for KU.

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Kansas freshman Bobby Pettiford to miss time with nagging abdominal injury

Kansas freshman Bobby Pettiford will not play in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game against UTEP at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo., because of what KU coach Bill Self called “an abdominal strain.” By Matt Tait

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Former 4-star prospect Steven Parker leaves KU football via transfer portal

The top-rated signee in the Kansas football program’s 2019 recruiting class, defensive end Steven Parker is entering the transfer portal after three seasons at KU, according to Monday reports from Rivals and 247 Sports.

Sunday, December 5

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2nd half recovery gives KU women's basketball home win over Vanderbilt

The Kansas women’s basketball team saved its best for the second half Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhakws dug out of a nine-point hole to beat Vanderbilt, 74-67.

Saturday, December 4

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KU volleyball riding 'why not us' mentality into Sweet 16

Kansas volleyball head coach Ray Bechard doesn’t mind acknowledging that just a month ago, he wasn’t exactly sure the Jayhawks had an NCAA Tournament run in their future.

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Kansas forward David McCormack's relaxed approach contributed greatly to career night vs. St. John's

Two key members of the eighth-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team were more comfortable throughout Friday’s 95-75 win at St. John’s. And it turns out that one had a direct impact on the other. By Matt Tait

Friday, December 3

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'Oh my gosh, we're in the Sweet 16': KU volleyball pulls off another NCAA Tournament upset

One NCAA Tournament upset win wasn’t enough for the Kansas volleyball team. The Jayhawks made it two in as many nights on Friday, in Omaha, Neb., where KU took down host Creighton in four sets.

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Christian Braun's career night helps No. 8 Kansas cruise past St. John's, 95-75

Elmont, N.Y. — A hot start and strong second half led the eighth-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team past St. John’s, 95-75, on Friday night at UBS Arena in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. By Matt Tait

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Danny Manning named interim head coach at Maryland

One former Kansas basketball player, Mark Turgeon, is out as Maryland’s head men’s basketball coach, and a Jayhawk great, Danny Manning, will step in.

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Kenny Logan Jr. will be 'back for more' as a KU football senior in 2022

Anyone worried about the future plans of Kansas football safety Kenny Logan Jr. got some reassurance on Thursday, when the defensive back from St. Augustine, Fla., announced he’s not going anywhere.

Thursday, December 2

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No pressure: KU volleyball upsets No. 19 Oregon to reach 2nd round of NCAA Tournament

Whatever pressure that is supposed to go hand in hand with playing in the NCAA Tournament was nearly nonexistent for the Kansas volleyball team Thursday, as the Jayhawks swept their way to the second round with a three-set upset victory over No. 19-ranked Oregon, in Omaha, Neb.

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After pair of 'poor' games, Bill Self expecting sophomore Jalen Wilson to get back on track

Three games into his redshirt sophomore season, Kansas wing Jalen Wilson’s production has lagged behind what he did for the Jayhawks a year ago. But head coach Bill Self isn’t expecting that trend to last long.

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Game day breakdown: No. 8 Kansas basketball at St. John's

A look at some of the keys for eighth-ranked Kansas in Friday night's Big East-Big 12 Challenge matchup with St. John's at the brand new UBS Arena in New York City. By Matt Tait

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Veteran KU football defenders Kyron Johnson, Kenny Logan Jr. make All-Big 12 2nd team

Though the Kansas football team registered just one victory during Big 12 play in 2021, the conference’s coaches didn’t overlook two of the Jayhawks’ most impactful players when making all-league selections.

Wednesday, December 1

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KU women's basketball turns slow start into blowout vs. UTRGV

After a slow first quarter Wednesday night versus Texas Rio Grande Valley, the lead for the Kansas women’s basketball team just kept growing in what turned into a 75-44 blowout at Allen Fieldhouse.

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KU Athletics: Calling off 2022 Kansas Relays 'the financially responsible decision'

When KU Athletics Inc., decided to call off the 2022 Kansas Relays, citing ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletic department’s concerns centered around the financial implications of hosting the large-scale track and field event.

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KU football's 2022 schedule finalized

The calendar for Lance Leipold’s second season coaching the Kansas football team is now set. The Big 12 announced Wednesday dates for all conference games in 2022, making the Jayhawks’ complete schedule official.

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Kansas volleyball confident, excited heading into opening-round NCAA Tournament match vs. Oregon

As the Kansas volleyball team gets set for its first NCAA Tournament match since 2017, the young Jayhawks are both fired up and focused ahead of their Thursday showdown with Pac-12 power Oregon in Omaha, Neb. By Matt Tait